“Virunga” tells the story of the rangers in Virunga National Park as they struggle to protect the wildlife from SOCO, a British oil company that is trying to undermine the park. This area of the eastern Congo, which is the home to the last of the mountain gorillas and relies on tourism to support the economy, has been turned on its head by a rebel army that is being bribed by SOCO. The documentary centers around a gorilla caretaker, park director, head park ranger, and a French journalist as they present the downward path of this national park. The film contains secretly recorded conversations with the rebels, footage of animals that have been killed in efforts to shut down the park, and a battle involving, NATO, truck-loads of rebels, and tanks. The documentary makes a bold statement and the editing allows the film to seamlessly flow from one character’s story to the next. “Virunga” is nominated for an Oscar and, even if it doesn’t win, this platform will give it an opportunity to create awareness of this sad situation.
[Pictured: Community members transport a murdered gorilla to a burial site]